Don’t get too excited. It’s not the ‘glo-sticks, whistles, neon tutus and raving it up until your chemical enhancement wears off’ clubbing scene. This scene is much more important.
This week’s post is a tad late, so apologies, but I was away from technology. I was in deepest, darkest Devon.
Well, I don’t think Plymouth quite counts as the back of beyond (they have a a drive-through Costa for heaven’s sake) but I had an enjoyable WiFi free weekend.
I was visiting my friend Holley and her husband Paul. We mooched about, we visited the ponies on Dartmoor and generally got drizzled on in Tavistock. Saturday night arrived and Holley and I were escorted into the suburb of Plympton, by Paul and his friend Phil, for our night on the tiles. After popping into the curry house for sustenance, we ventured into the Plympton Conservative Club. Paul and Phil usually use it as a starting point for their Saturday night shenanigans. A swift (cheap) pint then on to the next stop. But we were there for a longer stop to enjoy the live music.
Now, it would be very easy for me to be judgemental about this place. Yes, the average age of the clientèle was way above pension age. Yes, despite the new refurb, it still looked very dated. And yes, clubs like these are the butt of many a joke. They’re not “cool”. But what is “cool”, especially in terms of live music?
That evening, a band called Java were playing. (https://www.facebook.com/JavaDuo.UK/?fref=ts) They are a duo who play covers of pop, rock and soul songs. They’re not a duo you’d expect to see together. The singer is a young lady who looks a little like Adele and has lungs that do justice to her lookalike. Her partner in crime is an older man on the guitar. Despite, the venue being a small social club in an English suburb, this fella played the guitar like he was channelling Springsteen at Madison Square Garden, and his shirt kept opening further down his chest the more effort he put in. And effort was certainly not in short supply. I think he enjoyed the act of playing as much as the crowd loved hearing them.
Everyone at the club Saturday night enjoyed themselves. As Java played the first note, the dance-floor started to fill. One particular older lady only left the dance floor for one song (a slower one didn’t suit her energetic dance style). The dance floor was full for most of the set. Everyone was there to have a good time on a Saturday night. Ladies had dressed in their finest and despite the high heels, the dancing continued.
Music is about enjoyment. As Java rolled through the classic ‘wedding band’ material of Phil Collins, Gloria Gaynor and the Motown medley, everyone was enjoying themselves. I particularly enjoyed the music.
It took me back to many Saturday nights of my youth where I, along with my brother and cousins, set up a table away from our designated adults in various social clubs. We’d slowly guzzle our lemonades, play pool and learn about the history of music from the carousel of wedding bands that would entertain the club crowd. I never really questioned how I got to know the music of the 80s, 70s and even earlier. It just seemed to be there in my conscious. But now I realise it must’ve been implanted, in part, by hearing these same songs week in and week out in the club scene.
I remember dancing on the sticky wooden floor to all these classics and dodging the dancing elbows of middle-aged women enjoying their Saturday night freedom. This is the only live music that many people enjoy. But that’s no bad thing. This is quality entertainment for all. This Saturday, as I shimmied to Queen’s “I Want To Break Free”, and watched a dance floor of people doing the same thing in front of two true entertainers putting their heart into their performance, I was reminded how important live music is. Music is vital for life.
Even if we don’t break free, just for a few hours, we can be afforded a release. And in social clubs up and down the country, hard-working bands such as Java are providing that much needed magic to set us all free.
I love clubbing.